African Union Chairperson Macky Sall in Moscow for talks with Putin

African Union Chairperson Macky Sall in Moscow for talks with Putin

The chairperson of the African Union, President Macky Sall of Senegal, will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday as the war in Ukraine exacerbates food insecurity on the continent.

Macky Sall, accompanied by Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission chairperson, is expected in Russia this Thursday and will meet Putin in Sochi on Friday.

This visit “is part of the efforts of the current chairmanship of the Union to contribute to the lull in the war in Ukraine, and the release of stocks of grain and fertilizer whose blockage particularly affects African countries,” the presidential office said in a statement, adding that the visit takes place at the invitation of Mr. Putin.

In a video message addressed on Tuesday to the leaders of European countries meeting in Brussels, the Senegalese president warned that the food supply shortage in Africa was “very serious and alarming” combined with generalized price increases.

He asked to do everything “to release the grain stocks available” in Ukraine but blocked because of the Russian blockade in the Black Sea and prohibition of access to the port of Odessa.

He pointed out that the current crisis followed the Covid-19 crisis, which had already worsened hunger in Africa. “The worst may be ahead of us,” he said.

He recalled that many African countries, including his own, are heavily dependent on grain imports from the region. He was also concerned about the consequences of European sanctions excluding Russian banks from the international Swift system, a secure messaging platform allowing crucial operations such as money transfer orders.


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